Understanding What Saying NO Is and Is Not Knowing that saying “NO” is okay, but it is important to understand what “NO” is and what it is not.
1. ‘No’ makes you a priority. We all get 24 hours in a day, and chances are you’re going to want to spend some of that time sleeping. What you do with the remainder of the day is important simply because you don’t have the resources to spend in saying ‘yes’ to everyone. Caring for yourself and your time for self-care is not selfish, it is necessary! You must decide if the project in front of you is worthy of your time – or if that time might be better spent doing something else.
2. ‘No’ isn’t a rejection. For me, it was a hard lesson to learn, but one that is very important. Turning down a project doesn’t mean you’re rejecting the person who did the asking. Saying no to your best friend doesn’t make them any less your best friend. And yes, you can even say no to your boss, especially if you’re already overburdened or in the midst of something you perceive to be more important. The thing to remember is that it’s always wise to help the other person make that distinction. Telling your boss ‘no’ might be a risky endeavor, unless you first help them to realize just why it is you can’t. We will explore this in another post.
3. Not every ‘No’ has to be a solid no. When is comes to saying no, sometimes a compromise may be a possibility. It could be that you don’t have the time to chair the committee, but you still have the ability to serve another way. This doesn’t mean that you should find a compromise for everything you’re asked to do. But if something really does pique your interest, see if there’s some way you can still be involved without having to put in the full commitment – especially if you’re already busy with something else.
4. This is a hard one but ‘No’ doesn’t have to come with a guilt trip. Just as there’s no harm in someone asking for your help with something, you also have the equal right to say no. It’s part of the give and takes of daily life. If you’ve considered the request seriously and felt that saying ‘no’ was the right thing to do – then go with your gut. Say no. End of story.
5. ‘No’ has to come with an apology. The moment you say you’re sorry you’re showing that you’re wavering and putting yourself in a position of weakness. Your no means no. That’s it. You don’t need to make long excuses, or even give a reason why. A polite response of, “Thanks for asking, but I can’t help with that” Is truly all you need to say.
‘No’ doesn’t have to be daunting or even scary, but it does have the ability to save your sanity. Learn how to use ‘no’ effectively, and your life will become infinitely easier. Thankfully it’s an easy skill to learn. It really is as simple as saying ‘no.’
And the only way to develop the skill is to put it into practice.
Change your PERSPECTIVE (it’s okay to say no), see new POSSIBILITIES (freedom of overwhelm), notice the new PATHWAYS (to what are you saying yes), and PROCEED.